UPDATE: As I have been looking around and thinking about my requirements, it occurs to me that I've never found a reason to burn my own DVD. So I could get by without that feature in my laptop. And lookie at what I found, the same Compaq Presario that I linked to below but without the DVD burner! Its a significant amount of dollars less expensive too! There are two other minor changes, XP Home instead of XP Pro and a 20 gig smaller hardrive. I can live with those changes.
Thanks to the advice I've received from everyone. I'm about ready to rub the numbers off my credit card on this laptop.
And this report about Circuit City arrives at a particularly bad time. Because, you see, I've rather decided that Circuit City seems to have the best selection of machines in town. They have machines priced from $599 to upwards of $2200 and several price ranges in between. I also bought our PC from Circuit City last spring and except for their dammable mail-in rebate proclivity, I had a very good buying experience.
I think this Compaq Presario is my first choice, if I can swing the funds. The BSU kind of indicated that I should get what I want and not scrimp so if the funds allow, that might be my choice. Failing that I might just have to "settle" for a bigger, heavier Acer machine. That Acer is certainly attractive from the price standpoint and the fact that no mail-in rebate is required. I do want my laptop to be as portable as possible so the Sony really would be my first choice.
But, I am always open to suggestions, words of advice and pitfalls to avoid in the laptop computer buying world. So if you can advise, please do in the comments. This will be a major purchase and I hope to only do it once for the foreseabble future, so I'd like to get it right.
I'm also open to the possibility of donations towards my new computer if you're feeling friendly...